The Optical Unconscious of Big Data: Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The Optical Unconscious of Big Data : Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures. / Agostinho, Daniela.

In: Big Data & Society, Vol. 6, No. 1, 05.01.2019, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Harvard

Agostinho, D 2019, 'The Optical Unconscious of Big Data: Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures', Big Data & Society, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951719826859

APA

Agostinho, D. (2019). The Optical Unconscious of Big Data: Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures. Big Data & Society, 6(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951719826859

Vancouver

Agostinho D. The Optical Unconscious of Big Data: Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures. Big Data & Society. 2019 Jan 5;6(1):1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951719826859

Author

Agostinho, Daniela. / The Optical Unconscious of Big Data : Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures. In: Big Data & Society. 2019 ; Vol. 6, No. 1. pp. 1-10.

Bibtex

@article{68022c73c9d9423ba890d6ceca1c7b1c,
title = "The Optical Unconscious of Big Data: Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures",
abstract = "Ever since big data became a mot du jour across social fields, opticalmetaphors such as the microscope began to surface in popular discourseto describe and qualify its epistemological impact. While the persistenceof optics seems to be at odds with the datafication of vision, this articlesuggests that the optical metaphor offers an opportunity to reflect aboutthe material consequences of the modes of seeing and knowing thatcurrently shape datafied worlds. Drawing on feminist new materialism,the article investigates the optical metaphor as a material-discursivepractice that actively constitutes the world, as metaphors imply modes ofthinking, knowing and doing that have material enactions. Expandingvisual culture theories, the notion of “optical unconscious” is taken up todiscuss the tensions between displacement and persistence of opticswithin datafied worlds, that is, how optical vision is displaced but alsomobilised and repurposed by data-driven knowledge. In dialogue withfeminist science and technology studies and speculative ethics, I suggestthat the datafication of vision offers a chance to reconceptualize thesense of sight towards a sensorial engagement with big data premisedon responsibility, care, and an ethics of unknowability. Within thisframework, vision may be conceived differently, perhaps not only asenhancement and control, but as generator of new possibilities.Ultimately, the article proposes that the visual theories after which bigdata is being imagined matter not only for our understanding of bigdata’s epistemic potential, but also for the possibility of shapingemerging data worlds.",
keywords = "Faculty of Humanities, big data, datafication, vision, care, feminist materialism, metaphors, optical unconscious",
author = "Daniela Agostinho",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "5",
doi = "10.1177/2053951719826859",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "1--10",
journal = "Big Data & Society",
issn = "2053-9517",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Optical Unconscious of Big Data

T2 - Datafication of vision and care for unknown futures

AU - Agostinho, Daniela

PY - 2019/1/5

Y1 - 2019/1/5

N2 - Ever since big data became a mot du jour across social fields, opticalmetaphors such as the microscope began to surface in popular discourseto describe and qualify its epistemological impact. While the persistenceof optics seems to be at odds with the datafication of vision, this articlesuggests that the optical metaphor offers an opportunity to reflect aboutthe material consequences of the modes of seeing and knowing thatcurrently shape datafied worlds. Drawing on feminist new materialism,the article investigates the optical metaphor as a material-discursivepractice that actively constitutes the world, as metaphors imply modes ofthinking, knowing and doing that have material enactions. Expandingvisual culture theories, the notion of “optical unconscious” is taken up todiscuss the tensions between displacement and persistence of opticswithin datafied worlds, that is, how optical vision is displaced but alsomobilised and repurposed by data-driven knowledge. In dialogue withfeminist science and technology studies and speculative ethics, I suggestthat the datafication of vision offers a chance to reconceptualize thesense of sight towards a sensorial engagement with big data premisedon responsibility, care, and an ethics of unknowability. Within thisframework, vision may be conceived differently, perhaps not only asenhancement and control, but as generator of new possibilities.Ultimately, the article proposes that the visual theories after which bigdata is being imagined matter not only for our understanding of bigdata’s epistemic potential, but also for the possibility of shapingemerging data worlds.

AB - Ever since big data became a mot du jour across social fields, opticalmetaphors such as the microscope began to surface in popular discourseto describe and qualify its epistemological impact. While the persistenceof optics seems to be at odds with the datafication of vision, this articlesuggests that the optical metaphor offers an opportunity to reflect aboutthe material consequences of the modes of seeing and knowing thatcurrently shape datafied worlds. Drawing on feminist new materialism,the article investigates the optical metaphor as a material-discursivepractice that actively constitutes the world, as metaphors imply modes ofthinking, knowing and doing that have material enactions. Expandingvisual culture theories, the notion of “optical unconscious” is taken up todiscuss the tensions between displacement and persistence of opticswithin datafied worlds, that is, how optical vision is displaced but alsomobilised and repurposed by data-driven knowledge. In dialogue withfeminist science and technology studies and speculative ethics, I suggestthat the datafication of vision offers a chance to reconceptualize thesense of sight towards a sensorial engagement with big data premisedon responsibility, care, and an ethics of unknowability. Within thisframework, vision may be conceived differently, perhaps not only asenhancement and control, but as generator of new possibilities.Ultimately, the article proposes that the visual theories after which bigdata is being imagined matter not only for our understanding of bigdata’s epistemic potential, but also for the possibility of shapingemerging data worlds.

KW - Faculty of Humanities

KW - big data

KW - datafication

KW - vision

KW - care

KW - feminist materialism

KW - metaphors

KW - optical unconscious

U2 - 10.1177/2053951719826859

DO - 10.1177/2053951719826859

M3 - Journal article

VL - 6

SP - 1

EP - 10

JO - Big Data & Society

JF - Big Data & Society

SN - 2053-9517

IS - 1

ER -

ID: 195366784